The educational information listed
in this section has been graciously donated by the
American Sheep Industry Association. This glossary is taken from the following document
which appears in the: "A Handbook for Raising Small Numbers of Sheep"
(By Ralph L. Phillips, Farm Advisor - Kern County, Bruce Lane, Farm Advisor
- Sonoma County, John Glenn, Extension Veterinarian, Edmond C. Loomis, Extension
Parasitologist, University of California Cooperative Extension)
Abortion - Abnormal or early termination
Anaplasmosis - A blood disease of cattle
caused by a minute protozoan parasite.
Anemia - Deficiency of red blood cells and/or
quantity of pigment known as hemoglobin.
Antibodies - Circulating protein molecules
that help neutralize disease organisms.
Autogenous vaccines - Vaccine made from organisms
collected from a specific disease outbreak.
Black face breeds - Meat breeds of sheep.
Black fleece - Fleece containing so many
black fibers that white or light colored cloth cannot be made from it; thus,
the wool's value is reduced.
Booster vaccination - A second or multiple
vaccination given to increase an animal's resistance to a specific disease.
Breech birth - A birth in which the hind
feet of the young are presented first.
Breed - Animals of like color, body shape
and wool grade similar to those of parents.
Broken-mouth - A sheep that has lost part
of its permanent incisors, usually at 5 or more years of age.
Bummer or orphan - A lamb that is not raised
by its mother; usually it is raised on a bottle.
Castrate - Removal of male sheep testes.
Clip - Wool from a given flock; also, total
Colorado tick fever - A disease of humans
caused by a virus transmitted by ticks.
Colostrum - First milk a ewe gives after
birth. High in antibodies, this milk protects newborn lambs against diseases.
Condition - Amount of fat and muscle tissue
on an animal's body.
Constipation - A condition in which the contents
of the large intestines (bowels) are discharged at long intervals or with
Creep - A feeding area where lambs can feed
but ewes are excluded.
Crimp - Natural waviness of wool fibers.
Crossbreed sheep - A sheep resulting from
the mating of two different breeds.
Crutching or tagging - Removing wool from
the inside of a sheep's back legs and belly.
Crutchings - Wool removed from sheep during
the crutching or tagging process. This wool usually is free of manure as
opposed to tags, which contain a lot of manure.
Cull - To sell or eliminate from a flock.
Dam - A female parent.
Dental pad - An extension of the gums on
the front part of the upper jaw. It is a substitute for top front teeth.
Diarrhea - Watery feces ("scouring"
with staining of wool around the breach).
Dock - Stub end of the sheep's tail.
Docking - To remove the sheep's tail.
Drench - A means of giving liquid medicine
Emaciation - Loss of flesh resulting in extreme
Energy - A nutrient category of feeds usually
expressed as TON (total digestible nutrients).
Epididymis - Tubules that carry sperm from
ram's testicles to the spermatic cord.
Estrus - The ewe is receptive (can mate with
the ram) and can conceive (become pregnant).
Ewe - A female sheep.
Finishing - The act of feeding an animal
to produce a desirable carcass for market.
Fleece - Wool as it is shorn from the sheep;
the fleece should remain in one piece.
Flushing - Increasing the plane of nutrition
of a ewe before and during the breeding season.
Fly strike - When green and blue blowflies
lay eggs in wet and stained wool and maggots develop.
Gestation - Same as pregnancy.
Graft - A procedure in which a ewe raises
a lamb that is not her own.
Granny ewe - A pregnant ewe close to lambing
tries to claim another ewe's newborn lamb.
Grease wool - Wool shorn from the sheep before
it has been cleaned.
Jaundice - Yellowishness of the skin, mucous
membranes and secretions.
Jug or jail - A 4-feet-by-4-feet or 5-feet-by-5-feet
pen where a ewe and her lambs are put for the first 24 hours after birth.
Kemp - A chalky white, brittle, weak fiber
found mixed with normal fibers of a fleece; kemp will not take dye; thus,
the fleece's value is reduced.
Lactation - When the ewe is giving milk.
Lamb - Young sheep of either sex under 1
year of age.
Lambing out of the wool - Ewes shorn before
Larvae - Immature stages of adult parasite;
the term applies to insects, ticks and worms.
Libido - Usually refers to the ram's sex
Lymphatic (lymph) - Pertaining to a system
of vessels used for conveying the liquid portion of blood (lymph).
Mastitis - Inflammation of the udder.
Nymph - A young stage of insects and ticks
unlike the adult, having incompletely developed sex organs.
Oocyst - A minute pouch or saclike body containing
a fertilized cell of a parasite.
Orchitis - Inflammation of the testicle.
Overshot or parrot mouth - When the lower
jaw is shorter than the upper jaw and the teeth hit in back of the dental
Ovulation - Egg released from the ovary.
Parturition - Act of birth.
Pelt - The skin of a sheep with the wool
Pneumonia - Infection in the lungs.
Protein - A nutrient category of feed used
for growth, milk and repair of body tissue.
Puberty - When a sheep becomes sexually mature.
Pulpy kidney - Another name for enterotoxemia.
Puparia - Reefing stages (nonfeeding) of
Purebred animal - An animal of a recognized
breed kept pure for many generations. A purebred animal may or may not be
registered, but all registered animals are purebred.
Quarantine - To isolate or separate an animal
from other sheep.
Ram or buck - Male sheep of any age that
has not been castrated.
Ration - Total feed given an animal during
a 24-hour period.
Rectal prolapse - A portion of the rectum
protrudes past the anus.
Registered animal - A purebred animal that
has a registration certificate and number issued by the breed association.
Scoured wool - Wool that has been cleaned
Scouring - See diarrhea in reference to discharge
of animal feces; also a term used in cleansing wool.
Seasonal breeders - Ewes only show estrus
during part of the year; estrus season depends on breed and climate.
Smooth-mouth - A sheep that has lost all
of its permanent incisors, usually 7 or more years of age.
Staple - Common reference to length of wool
Tags - Heavy, manure-covered locks of wool.
Teaser ram - A ram that has had the spermatic
cords cut or tied (vasectomy). These males cannot impregnate ewes but have
Tender wool - Wool that has a weak or tender
area in it. The tender area is called a break. Wool fiber that breaks at
this point reduces wool value.
Trachea - Windpipe leading from the throat
Undershot - Lower jaw is longer than the
upper, and teeth extend forward past the dental pad on upper jaw.
Vascular - Pertaining to, or provided with
vessels; usually refers to veins and arteries.
Vasectomied ram - A ram that has had the
spermatic cords cut and cannot ejaculate sperm cells.
Virulence - An organism's ability to produce
Wether - A male sheep castrated before the
development of secondary sex characteristics.
White face breeds - Wool breeds of sheep.
Wool blind - A condition where the wool grows
too close to the eyes. This is opposed to open face where there is a large
area around the eyes free of wool.
Wool tie - A string or twine made of paper
used for tying fleeces.
Yearling - A sheep of either sex that is
approximately 1 to 2 years of age, or a sheep that has cut its first set
Yolk - The natural yellow grease in a fleece
that keeps the wool in good condition.
Learn more from the following links:
Benefits of Wool
Sheep Wool Grades